Frontex: inconsequential outrage (neue-deutschland.de)

Photo: David Charisins / dpa

The fact that EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson appears shaken after reports of the illegal displacement of refugees in the Aegean Sea and demands clarification from the European border agency Frontex is very welcome, but also seems hypocritical. »If Frontex actually took part in pushback campaigns, that is absolutely unacceptable. That should never happen, ”said Johannson. The EU Interior Commissioner emphasized that people have the right to apply for asylum. One must prevent refugees from being sent back at sea.

After Frontex initially refused to even investigate the pushbacks, the authority later announced an internal review. So far, however, “no documents have been found to support the allegation.” That sounds as if those responsible wanted to sit out the excitement again:

After all, there have been reports of pushbacks for years. Refugees, activists and human rights organizations have repeatedly pointed out the illegal practice in the past. And even the then Frontex director Ilkka Laitinen had admitted in October 2013 that Frontex had pushed boats in the Mediterranean several times a year and had deported refugees without an asylum examination procedure, even under threat of violence.

Nothing has happened since then – push-backs are still an integral part of European refugee policy: a policy of isolationism of deliberately allowing people to drown, which not only arrests civilian rescue ships on flimsy grounds, but also criminalizes sea rescuers. A policy that spends hundreds of millions of euros annually to prevent people seeking protection from reaching the EU. The »European Agency for the Border and Coast Guard«, which was founded in 2004 and has a military upgrade and is based in Warsaw, is only the last resort.

If the EU ever wants to live up to the Nobel Peace Prize, which it was awarded in 2012 for “its commitment to peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights”, then Johansson’s words must be followed by legal and political consequences. A first step would be to finally dissolve Frontex.

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European Pact on Migration: a new beginning

For decades our continent has been the preferred destination of millions of people. People fleeing wars, extreme living conditions, or simply looking for a better life. Migratory flows have existed, with greater or lesser intensity over the years, and will continue to exist. The attractiveness of the European Union as a destination should not surprise us: the EU is not only an area with economic prosperity, but also a world reference in terms of freedom and human rights, where each person can be whoever they want without fear of persecution or The discrimination. In addition, the benefits of the welfare state are a mark of the European house. However, we sometimes tend to forget that migration is good for everyone: throughout history our societies have benefited from the arrival of people from different backgrounds who have enriched our cultures and shaped who we are now. And if we do not think that our DNA is a sample of miscegenation for more than 30,000 years.

Despite all this, the migratory phenomenon continues to cause divisions between the different countries, especially after the 2015 crisis, and continues to generate mixed feelings and polarization in our societies. This is proof that we cannot continue to do things as they were done before. The recent shocking images of the island of Lesbos in Greece, with thousands of people, including families with children, homeless, serve as a reminder that we have to change things.

It goes without saying that this is a very complex issue, with many aspects and different national perceptions that must be weighed together. Of course, and first of all, we have to guarantee the safety of people seeking international protection, or those who want to gain access, in a regulated manner, to a better life in our territory, but we must also take into account the concerns of countries who fear that migratory pressures will exceed their capacities and who therefore need the solidarity of others.

Taking all this into account, the European Commission presented on 23 September a new European Pact on Migration and Asylum. This proposal, one of the priorities announced by President Von der Leyen at her inauguration last year, is the result of months of work and discussions with all EU governments, members of the European Parliament and representatives of civil society , such as non-governmental organizations, social partners and companies.

What we are proposing are rules that will speed up border procedures, so that people don’t get stuck for long, along with improving cooperation with third countries to achieve quick returns, and establishing more legal avenues and firm actions to fight against human traffickers. And of course we continue to protect the right to seek asylum.

How are we going to do it? First, by establishing faster and more efficient procedures at the border. We propose that each person who crosses EU borders without permission or who has been disembarked after a search and rescue operation undergoes, within five days, a rapid assessment including identification and a health and security check. After this control, the competent authorities will have to evaluate, within a period of 12 weeks, the asylum applications or complete the return procedures of people who do not have the right to remain in the EU.

The benefits of these quick procedures are numerous: people will not be forced to wait for many months in a situation of uncertainty. Those in need of international protection will be able to start their new lives quickly in our societies, while people who do not have the right to stay in the EU will be less tempted to cross the border, as the time limits for returning to their countries would also be shortened. . One of the most important elements of the Pact is solidarity between the EU countries. Migration cannot be an issue that affects only the countries that receive migratory flows, such as Spain, Italy or Greece. All countries, without exception, must contribute. That is why we propose a flexible system, in which each country can choose its contribution. This contribution can range from the acceptance of asylum seekers from the country of first entry, to the assumption of the responsibility to return individuals without the right to stay. And the guarantee of operation of this new system of ‘border sharing’ will be that the Commission decides ‘in fine’ obligatorily if problems arise in the application of this flexible system.

Finally, knowing that legal migration enriches our societies and economies, our vision is to attract talented people from around the world. For this reason, we will establish partnerships with third countries to meet the needs for manpower and expertise in the Union.

As is the norm in the EU, the Commission proposes, and it is now up to the two co-legislators, that is, the European Parliament and the Council, to examine and adopt our proposal. Given the urgency in several Member States, agreement could be reached quickly on some Pact matters.

I am convinced that on migration, Europe will once again rise to the occasion and the solutions to a question that concerns us all. The improvement of people’s living conditions and opportunities, as well as their integration into our societies, demand it.

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Greece is building fences on the border with Turkey

Border between Greece and Turkey

The barriers are to be five meters high and 27 kilometers long.

Athens Five meters high, 27 kilometers long, 63 million euros expensive: Greece is arming itself with massive barriers on the Evros river against the feared new migrant flows from Turkey. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inspected the construction work over the weekend.

The new border fences are “the least we can do to make citizens feel safe,” said Mitsotakis during his visit to the village of Feres. A nine-kilometer section of the fence will be erected there.

The Greek land border with Turkey is 206 kilometers long. For the most part, but not continuously, it follows the course of the Evros River (Turkish: Meric). The Evros was the scene of a week-long trial of strength in the spring: At the end of February, the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared the border with Greece open.

Tens of thousands of migrants were brought in buses to the Pazarkule / Kastanies crossing in order to besiege the border. Erdogan threatens to send “millions” of migrants to Europe. He wanted to achieve financial concessions from the EU. But the plan failed, the Greeks defended their borders. At the end of March, the Turkish authorities had the besiegers brought back inland by bus.

The new fence will be erected on three previously less secure sections, where the border does not follow the Evros but runs over land. The barriers consist of massive, five meter high steel elements anchored vertically in the ground.

An eleven-kilometer-long metal fence on Evros, which was built in 2012, will be reinforced and raised from 3.50 to 4.30 meters. The armed forces also built eight new watchtowers. Prime Minister Mitsotakis also wants to strengthen the border police on Evros with 400 additional officers.

Tensions in the Aegean are growing

Against the background of the recent conflicts with Turkey over the economic zones in the eastern Mediterranean, there are fears in Athens that Erdogan could put pressure on again. There are already signs of this: In Greek police circles, it is observed that larger numbers of migrants are being brought back to Evros by buses, where they then get into rubber boats. The Turkish border guards let the smugglers go.

Meanwhile, tensions in the Aegean are escalating: Over the weekend, Turkey unilaterally expanded its area of ​​responsibility for search and rescue operations. She now claims responsibility for sea rescue off Greek islands such as Mykonos, Santorini and Crete. The Greek Foreign Ministry spoke of an “arbitrary and illegal claim”. Turkey is creating confusion and putting human lives in danger.

Like the land border on Evros, Greece also wants to better secure the sea border in the Aegean Sea. To this end, the coast guard is planning to set up a new observation system. Its main purpose is to prevent irregular migration from the Turkish coast to the Greek islands.

The system will consist of 35 stationary radar stations with ranges of up to 90 kilometers, thermal imaging cameras and drones. The observation data are evaluated in real time in two control centers of the coast guard and the armed forces in Athens. The contracts for the monitoring system are to be put out to tender in the coming year.

More: The gas conflict leads to an arms race between two NATO partners

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Greece is building fences on the border with Turkey

Border between Greece and Turkey

The barriers are to be five meters high and 27 kilometers long.

Athens Five meters high, 27 kilometers long, 63 million euros expensive: Greece is arming itself with massive barriers on the Evros river against the feared new migrant flows from Turkey. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inspected the construction work over the weekend.

The new border fences are “the least we can do to make the citizens feel safe,” said Mitsotakis during his visit to the village of Feres. A nine-kilometer section of the fence will be erected there.

The Greek land border with Turkey is 206 kilometers long. For the most part, but not continuously, it follows the course of the Evros River (Turkish: Meric). The Evros was the scene of a week-long trial of strength in the spring: At the end of February, the Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared the border with Greece open.

Tens of thousands of migrants were brought in buses to the Pazarkule / Kastanies crossing in order to besiege the border. Erdogan threatens to send “millions” of migrants to Europe. He wanted to achieve financial concessions from the EU. But the plan failed, the Greeks defended their borders. At the end of March, the Turkish authorities had the besiegers brought back inland by bus.

The new fence will be erected on three previously less secure sections, where the border does not follow the Evros but runs over land. The barriers consist of massive, five meter high steel elements anchored vertically in the ground.

An eleven-kilometer-long metal fence on Evros, which was built in 2012, will be reinforced and raised from 3.50 to 4.30 meters. The armed forces also built eight new watchtowers. Prime Minister Mitsotakis also wants to strengthen the border police on Evros with 400 additional officers.

Tensions in the Aegean are growing

Against the background of the recent conflicts with Turkey over the economic zones in the eastern Mediterranean, there are fears in Athens that Erdogan could put pressure on again. There are already signs of this: In Greek police circles it is observed that large numbers of migrants are being brought back to Evros by buses, where they then get into rubber boats. The Turkish border guards let the smugglers do theirs.

Meanwhile, tensions in the Aegean continue to escalate: at the weekend, Turkey unilaterally expanded its area of ​​responsibility for search and rescue operations. She now claims responsibility for sea rescue off Greek islands such as Mykonos, Santorini and Crete. The Greek Foreign Ministry spoke of an “arbitrary and illegal claim”. Turkey is creating confusion and putting human lives in danger.

Like the land border on Evros, Greece also wants to better secure the sea border in the Aegean Sea. To this end, the coast guard is planning to set up a new observation system. Its main purpose is to prevent irregular migration from the Turkish coast to the Greek islands.

The system will consist of 35 stationary radar stations with ranges of up to 90 kilometers, thermal imaging cameras and drones. The observation data are evaluated in real time in two control centers of the coast guard and the armed forces in Athens. The orders for the monitoring system are to be put out to tender in the coming year.

More: The gas conflict leads to an arms race between two NATO partners

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A «novel without fiction» on the trail of Spanish emigration

For years, like a ghost that haunts a large house, the story of a grandfather who had emigrated to Latin America in search of El Dorado haunted Xesús Fraga. He tried to piece together family memories, to shape a novel he never wrote. Life had to hit him, with the death of his father, for the letter to flow. In ‘Virtudes (y misterios)’, winner of the Blanco Amor Award and recently published in Spanish by Xordica, she looks for the trace of emigration through the coexistence of “two intimate concerns: know under what circumstances and what reasons led my grandfather to emigrate to Venezuela in 1955 without anything being heard from him again and fable what my life would have been like if my parents had not returned from London when I was five years old ”, explains Fraga. “Both events are linked, since the absence of my grandfather forced his wife to go to the city to which my mother would follow her shortly after and, after all, I would be born.” This “non-fiction novel” has served the author to banish “family traumas” such as abandonments, absences, loneliness and sacrifices.

The Indian dream was melting in a hard time for Spain. The great houses of the villages from which they returned were an exception among the thousands who went to work tirelessly all their lives, and who would not return. opportunity for improvement through education, a spirit that should be maintained, ”says Fraga. «My first personal computer was given to me by my grandmother when I was 13 years old and I am well aware that my generation, my cousins ​​and I were the first to access university thanks to the migratory sacrifices of my grandmother and my parents. Is something that I do not want or can forget or stop thanking».

The family of the cobbler whose flight triggers the plot with a tireless journey through the last century, makes stops in cities such as Caracas, Buenos Aires and London. What is left of that? “A memory that we sometimes betray,” says Fraga.

The mother and grandmother of the author Xesús Fraga on the roof of Montserrat
The mother and grandmother of the author Xesús Fraga on the roof of Montserrat / R. C.

-What deep trace remains, then, of those emigrants?

-The Indian houses embody the realization of the dream of the emigrant’s triumphal return, but I am more moved by the schools and educational societies that they founded in their places of origin, moved by the ideal of alleviating poverty and lack of education in their neighbors . My grandfather, my father, my mother and my aunts, and myself, we went through classrooms that were built in Betanzos under the protection of the fortune that the García Naveira brothers amassed in Argentina and of which they dedicated part to promoting social works.

-Is there a memory in Spain of difficult times?

-The difficulties that many emigrants have to vote, as has been seen recently, is one of them. Another, the lack of empathy with those who arrive in Spain in conditions not so different from those who had to leave here just a few decades ago. You can perceive in many current attitudes towards immigrants an inheritance of the hypocritical discourse towards the emigrants of the Franco regime, which, on the one hand, despised the “poor Spaniards” who had no other option but to leave, while, on the other hand , took advantage of their foreign currency remittances. Seen this way, emigration is a true reflection of the class struggle.

-Does fiction, as the topic says, serve to better tell reality?

-‘Virtues (and mysteries) ‘is ascribed to what we could call a “novel without fiction.” The novel’s own resources, regardless of the degree of fiction it contains, are ideal tools to bring out these truths: appeal to the emotions and move, which should not be confused with sentimentality or sentimentality. They served me to make my way through the tangle of silences, misunderstandings and forgetfulness of my family history, and try to give them meaning through the narrative, although, as I have already pointed out in the title itself, some mysteries remain.

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New home for Red Fighters (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

»Kreuzberg-specific spirit of resistance«. Protest culture in Oranienstrasse

Refuge for non-conformist (life) artists and militant squatters, the new home of Anatolian labor migrants and, until the fall of the Wall, a place of longing for Swabian total objectors, now haunted by property speculators and hipster tourists – but still resistant. This is Berlin-Kreuzberg.

Jürgen Enkemann, born in 1938 and in Kreuzberg for almost six decades, wrote a book about “Kreuzberg. The other Berlin «published. The volume, which was published by VBB (Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg) and is richly illustrated with partly colored contemporary and current photographs, leaflets and posters, was able to appear in this opulent version because money was collected through a crowdfunding project. The English graduate Enkemann works strictly scientifically. But as a long-time district activist and editor or publisher of neighborhood magazines like that Kreuzberg sting and Kreuzberger Horn he is also a participating observer and contemporary witness.

It is Enkemann’s concern to trace the origins and lines of continuity of a “Kreuzberg-specific spirit of resistance” which he has perceived as formative to this day. The author found what he was looking for in the Weimar Republic with the left-wing socialist district mayor Carl Herz, who was later expelled by the Nazis. As a forerunner of the Autonomen active in Kreuzberg from the 80s on, the communist resistance group Rote Kampf, active until the mid-30s, appears, whose members distrusted the workers’ parties and relied on direct action from below. A red fighter, Erwin Beck, was supposed to negotiate with the young activists in the occupation of the Bethanien complex as a social democratic youth councilor in 1971 in view of the impending eviction by the police. While the APO had its centers around the universities in the west of Berlin, the southern district of Kreuzberg, located in the shadow of the Wall, moved into the focus of the radical left in the 1970s. »We looked for Kreuzberg as a base area. The sociological structure had changed so much that there were almost only Turks there, lumpen proletariat and a couple of really poor working-class families, “said the militant Bommi Baumann from the June 2nd Movement. From the squatting in the 1970s, Enkemann spans the range to today’s initiatives against displacement and eviction such as Kotti & Co and Bizim Kiez. The book goes into detail about the Kreuzberg artist and bohemian scene, the hour of which was the opening of the zinc gallery in Oranienstrasse in 1959. The accompanying soundtrack – the squatter hymns by Ton Steine ​​Scherben and the annoying catchy tune “Kreuzberger Nights” by the Blattuß brothers – is also mentioned.

The book has weaknesses when it comes to migration from Turkey, which in addition to the alternative milieu is defining for the district. Here Enkemann seems to have stopped at the level of the 1960s, when all immigrants from Anatolia were considered to be »Turks«. The fact that there are many Kurds among them, that there are not only Muslims but also numerous Alevis, who have two centers in Kreuzberg with the Cem House and the Dersim community, is not mentioned. It seems embarrassing when, of all people, Riza Baran, the former leader of the Greens parliamentary group in the district assembly, has to serve as an example for “immigrants with a Turkish background” in Kreuzberg’s local politics. After all, Baran, who died in May of this year, was the founder of the Kurdish community. Enkemann takes note of the political differences among migrants, for example about the murder of the communist trade unionist Celalettin Kesim in January 1980 by supporters of the fascist Gray Wolves at Kottbusser Tor. What Enkemann probably does not know: The headquarters of the Gray Wolves are still located in the heart of Kreuzberg, right next to the left-oriented event center SO36. The Kreuzberg myth is not free of contradictions.

With his detailed book, Enkemann helps to convey historical awareness of this rebellious district to today’s activists as well as long-established residents and tourists. He closes with the “defiantly optimistic outlook” on a poster with the inscription “We’ll get the neighborhood back”.

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Another trek of migrants in Honduras started north (neue-deutschland.de)

Migrants from Honduras wait in Guatemala for help on their way to the USA. Several thousand people left Honduras on foot for the USA.

Photo: dpa / AP / Moises Castillo

Entre Rios. A trek of around 3,000 Central American migrants who want to get to the United States has crossed the border between Honduras and Guatemala. They broke through rows of Guatemalan soldiers at the Entre Ríos border crossing on Thursday, according to journalists from the AFP news agency. The majority of the people from Honduras also ignored the entry restrictions due to the corona pandemic.

According to Guatemalan immigration officials, people get into the country without taking the coronavirus test required for foreigners to enter the country. Also, many of the majority of the people from Honduras did not wear respirators.

Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei ordered the arrest and deportation of migrants who had illegally crossed the border. At the same time he appealed to them to voluntarily return to their home countries.

The trek started on Wednesday evening from the second largest Honduran city of San Pedro Sula. People had followed calls on the online networks.

“We don’t think about the pandemic, that’s the last thing we think about. We want our family out of here, ”said 20-year-old Jefrey Amaya, who was traveling with seven other teenagers. The majority of migrants are young men. Women with children were hardly to be seen in the trek. According to the Honduran Red Cross, the convoy consists of a total of 3,200 people in two large groups.

Another migrant, 27-year-old Miguel Artiga, said: “We’re going to find the American dream, nobody will stop us. Here we either die of Covid-19 or of starvation. The governments do nothing to create jobs. “

In the past few years, thousands of people from Central American countries fleeing poverty and violence had moved in large convoys to Mexico in order to continue on to the USA. Because US President Donald Trump threatened retaliation, Mexico has now sent around 26,000 soldiers to its borders.

Before the current trek, the last call for refugee caravans in the direction of the USA was published on the online networks in January. At that time around 2000 people followed the call. In view of the corona pandemic and the resulting restrictions, there had been no new such call for months since then. AFP / nd

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Italy: turning point for Matteo Salvini and the Lega

AThe trial of the Italian opposition leader Matteo Salvini begins on Saturday in the Sicilian city of Catania. The head of the right-wing Lega party is accused of having committed deprivation of liberty at the end of July 2019, when he was still interior minister. At that time he had forbidden the “Gregoretti”, a ship of the Italian coast guard with 130 rescued migrants on board, for five days to dock on the Italian mainland.

It almost sounds as if Salvini is happy about the start of the process, which is moving him back to the center of the national debate after a long Corona-related absence from the headlines.

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Brussels wants to reform asylum and migration policy

A week before the European Commission presented its proposal for reforming asylum and migration policy on September 23, its president, Ursula von der Leyen called for a “European system of migration governance” during his State of the Union address to MEPs on Wednesday September 16.

→ READ. Revival, Turkey, migrants, climate… Ursula von der Leyen’s battle plan

Concretely this supposes“Abolish the Dublin regulation” and create “Common structures for asylum and return”, she clarified.

What is the Dublin Regulation?

The Dublin regulation, amended several times since 1990, entrusts responsibility for asylum requests to the countries of entry of migrants into the European Union. It had a dual objective: on the one hand to prevent asylum seekers from being returned from one country to another and, on the other, to prevent the same person from abusing the system by submitting requests for asylum. asylum in several states.

→ MAINTENANCE. Fr Maurice Joyeux: “We had to expect the Lesbos camp to end in flames”

This was a first step in establishing common asylum coordination rules with the idea, in accordance with the Maastricht agreements, that states would gradually delegate their sovereignty in this area to the benefit of a European policy. .

Why is he criticized?

When more than a million Syrians and Afghans fleeing their country arrived in Europe in 2015, this management, which was meant to be rational, showed that it worked poorly in times of crisis, by placing a disproportionate responsibility on the countries entry into the EU.

“However, instead of allowing the development of a European asylum policy, the crisis has on the contrary shown the fragility of the system, the dissensions between States and the bankruptcy of solidarity”, recalls Hélène Thiollet, researcher specializing in migration policies at the CNRS. “It was a real negative political test. The countries have all fallen back on national strategies. Italy and Greece let asylum seekers go, the other states have closed their borders ”, specifies the researcher.

→ READ. Migrants: desolation, anger and destitution in Lesbos

Since then, all reform projects, which require the unanimity of the Member States, have come up against the individualism of the States and have failed. In March 2016, the Commission proposed to make the modest European Asylum Support Office (EASO) a true European asylum agency responsible for the status of refugees for all Member States, with possible recourse to of a European Court of Appeal.

Even the ad hoc measures which were fiercely negotiated on a case-by-case basis were not respected by the Member States. Of the 100,000 relocations planned from Italy and Greece from 2015 to 2017, barely 35,000 had been.

Can a reform see the light of day today?

In order not to implode the EU, as opposition to migrants has strongly fueled Euroscepticism, including in states where migrants are not present, Brussels has found a way out by stepping up its outsourcing policy. “The 2015 crisis gave a real boost to this migratory diplomacy which was no longer limited to the management of irregular migration but was extended to people eligible for asylum”, explains the researcher.

The March 2016 agreement with Turkey closed the EU route to Syrians. At the same time, the development agreement negotiated with Afghanistan, formally signed on February 13, 2017, legitimized the return policy to this country still at war and reduced the rate of recognition of refugees. The 50,000 Syrian refugees trapped in the war in Libya are trickled out to Niger, waiting for a host country, etc.

→ READ. Catholic organizations call to welcome disaster-stricken refugees from Lesbos

“There is no longer any migratory pressure, we have returned to a period of normal management. This more favorable situation can potentially create a window of opportunity to think about an operational functioning ”, Hélène Thiollet wants to believe, even if, she warns, this extreme politicization of migration issues and the amalgamation between asylum and migration constitute real obstacles.

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London wants to curb migration across the English Channel

VCompared to other European nations, only a few refugees come to Great Britain. Last year around 35,000 people applied for asylum – Germany registered more than 140,000 initial applications. But since more and more refugees and migrants put their lives on the line and come across the English Channel in rubber dinghies, the “illegal immigration” in the kingdom is again more debated. Newspapers have reported in the past few days that the government is planning to take controversial measures to reduce the incentive to enter the kingdom. It would be examined whether the migrants can be accommodated on the other side of the island for the duration of their asylum procedure.

For a long time, gangs of smugglers on the French side of the Canal concentrated on smuggling migrants into the kingdom on board trucks and containers. Boat refugees remained the exception. But this year their number has grown rapidly. According to the Home Office, almost 7,000 migrants had reached the south bank of England by the end of September, many after being in distress and rescued by British ships. In the first three weeks of September alone, 1892 boat refugees came, more than in the whole of 2019. A government spokesman spoke of “unacceptable” conditions, and Nigel Farage, whose Brexit party is currently looking for new activities, sounded the alarm in a video.

“Protecting the British Borders”

At the beginning of September, when the corona protection allowed even larger gatherings, there were demonstrations in front of the port in Dover. About a hundred Britons waved the Union Jack and asked the government to “protect the British borders”. At the same hour, a refugee initiative organized a counter-protest. The police arrested ten people. Despite rising numbers, boat refugees remain a minority of those seeking asylum in the Kingdom. According to the House of Commons Library, they made up only about five percent of all asylum seekers last year; this year their share could grow to twenty percent.

The absolute number of asylum seekers has by no means reached a peak at the moment. That was achieved in 2002 when more than 84,000 people applied for asylum. In the eight years that followed, the number fell to a low of just under 18,000. Since then, the numbers have been climbing again. With currently 35,000 asylum seekers, Great Britain not only ranks well behind Germany, France and Spain, but also behind little Greece.

Recognition rate increases

The asylum statistics show that last year 29 percent of asylum seekers came from Asia, 27 percent from the Middle East, 24 percent from Africa and 14 percent from European countries. The recognition rate has increased in a serpentine fashion over the past few years. In 2004, 88 percent of asylum applications were rejected.

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